Past Exhibitions

Medieval Buddhist Sutra Manuscripts
February 7, 2017 - March 12, 2017

When most people in Japan hear “Buddhist sutra manuscripts,” they picture ancient relics from the Nara (710–794) or Heian (794–1185) periods, when the only sutras in Japan were those copied out by monks. However, even in later periods, after a large number of printed versions of the complete compendium of Buddhist scriptures (tripitaka) had been imported from China, the hand-copying of sutras remained an important practice. During the medieval era, sutra-copying was believed to strengthen character and personal virtue, and was practiced not only by monks but also by people of various stations including court officials, warriors, and even emperors themselves. In this exhibition we present a diverse array of medieval sutras that have hitherto gone largely unrecognized but are full of unexpected charms.

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